Self-Care Tips for Experiences of Psychosis

by | Jul 5, 2021 | Mental Health

self-care

Psychosis can be disorienting. From hallucinations to disorganized thought and speech, this mental state can come with several symptoms that make daily life difficult. For individuals who experience symptoms of psychosis, learning how to cope with, avoid, and overcome these experiences can make a difference in their quality of life. 

 

What Is Psychosis?

Though psychosis may present itself in different ways, the core definition pertains to a disconnect from reality, typically in the form of how an individual perceives or interprets what is really happening. Often, psychosis involves hearing or seeing things that are not actually present or believing things that are not true. Some individuals may experience only a single psychotic episode throughout their entire lives, while others may have brief bouts of psychosis or even live with the symptoms more often than not.

Regardless of how often or intense experiences of psychosis are, the disorientation that accompanies such symptoms can have a lasting impact on an individual’s mental health, interpersonal relationships, and overall wellness.

 

Common Symptoms of Psychosis

Psychosis encompasses three common symptoms: hallucinations, delusions, and disorganized thought and speech. Experiencing these symptoms can make individuals feel confused, distressed, and isolated because their reality is different from the reality of their peers and loved ones. To provide appropriate care to themselves, individuals who experience psychosis should strive to understand their symptoms, learn to recognize them as best they can, and endeavor to challenge them when appropriate.

 

Hallucinations

Hallucinations are among the most common symptoms of psychosis. They often present themselves in visual or auditory ways; however, other examples of hallucinations include distorted perceptions of objects and phantom sensory experiences such as tastes or smells. 

 

Delusions

Another common feature of psychosis is delusions. These are defined as beliefs that are not shared by others and cannot be proven to be true. Some beliefs lead individuals to consider themselves wealthy, powerful, or even divine despite a lack of evidence to support these ideas in reality; such delusions are considered to be “delusions of grandeur” and can lead to risky behaviors such as excessive spending or gambling.

On the other side of the delusion spectrum, paranoid delusions cause individuals to believe they are in danger. Paranoid delusions can cause significant stress and anxiety as individuals may believe someone is trying to sabotage or even kill them, even though this belief is not proven to be true.

 

Disorganized Thoughts and Speech Patterns

Though disorganized thoughts and speech patterns can result from other experiences of psychosis, this symptom can be its own category, as well. Sometimes referred to as “formal thought disorder,” disorganized and confusing thought patterns can be disruptive to communication efforts. Common experiences of disorganized thinking involve racing thoughts and “flights of ideas,” which often occur together. Racing thoughts means your thoughts are rapid and volatile, and they tend to be difficult to control. Similarly, a flight of ideas references an involuntary tendency to move quickly from idea to idea by making connections or finding meanings between them where others might struggle to follow.

Individuals who experience disorganized thoughts may struggle to focus on singular tasks and stay on topic, especially in conversations. Their speech patterns tend to be affected by the disorganization in their minds, resulting in a fast speaking pace that is difficult to understand and the slurring of words based on their sounds rather than meanings (a tendency sometimes referred to as “word salad”).

Symptoms of psychosis can be difficult to recognize and overcome because of how they distort reality and impact an individual’s perception of their own experiences. Individuals who experience psychosis should prioritize appropriate self-care practices to promote a higher standard of wellness and minimize the negative impact of harmful psychotic episodes.

 

Self-Care Tips

For individuals who experience psychosis, professional care is often crucial to ensure symptoms are effectively managed and contributing conditions can be treated. However, beyond receiving therapy, in-patient care, and medication prescriptions, there are many behaviors and habits that individuals can adopt to take care of themselves. These include:

  • Getting enough sleep each night
  • Exercising a few times a week
  • Eating a balanced diet and getting essential nutrients
  • Taking prescriptions on time and exactly as prescribed
  • Attending all medical appointments, including counseling sessions
  • Tracking and documenting triggers and coping tactics to inform future decisions, help avoid triggering situations, and employ effective coping behaviors as needed
  • Joining a support group and connecting with others who have similar experiences
  • Nurturing positive relationships with friends and family through open and honest communication
  • Avoiding alcohol and illegal substances
  • Keeping emergency contact information (for loved ones, guardians, and crisis centers) in an easily accessible location
  • Creating a crisis plan in advance to better communicate what is helpful and harmful when psychosis may make such communication difficult or impossible

 

Experiencing symptoms of psychosis can be challenging and disorienting, and facing them alone may lead to feelings of isolation, despair, and frustration. For most individuals who experience psychosis, professional care and guidance are essential for effectively managing symptoms, but knowing how they can help themselves is also important for independence and growth. Individuals who experience psychosis can benefit from knowing what are considered psychotic symptoms, prioritizing their physical and mental health, and accepting external support from medical professionals, peer groups, and loved ones. While psychosis can be frightening, confusing, and distressing, there is hope for treatment and effective coping skills. At Sober Life, we can help you learn more about your condition and give you the guidance and resources you need to effectively manage your symptoms. If you believe you are struggling with psychosis and want to receive support, don’t hesitate to reach out. Call Sober Life at (619) 542-9542 to learn more.

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